Here’s the thing: Your children can only be protected when the child car seat that they are using are correctly buckled up and installed, and properly fitted for their height and weight.
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that up to 59 per cent of car seats are improperly used. This means that we are putting the lives of our children at risk.
Because child car seats are a new concept to Filipino families, the rate of improper car seat installation and use can be even higher once SB 1447 or the Child Car Seat Bill gets passed into a law.
Here are the top 5 things to check in child car seats before hitting the road.
1. Rear-facing is the safest option out there. Make sure your kids are kept rear-facing as long as possible.
In the current version of the Child Car Seat Bill, we do not have age requirements in keeping children rear-facing. However, the best practice is to keep them in that position as long as possible and to make the most of the top height and weight limits of the child car seat.
Why? Because rear-facing car seats absorb the impact of the crash and keep the spinal cord aligned, making injuries on their developing vertebrae only minimal.
2. Check the seat’s expiration date
Nothing lasts forever. Not even child car seats. The materials that are used for the seats will expire and with the exposure to external factors, it can wear out. This wearing out makes the seat’s parts break and, in turn, might not even protect your child in a crash.
Generally, convertible car seats can be used up to 10 years, while infant seats can last about six years. Don’t worry, you can pass on or sell the child car seats to your next child or to someone in your family.
3. Boosters are not for losers. Don’t be too excited to go to the next step.
Once your child grows older, it might be more difficult for them to willingly use a booster seat. As parents, you might think that your child is already ready to transition to seat belts, when in fact, they might not be ready yet. In the Child Car Seat Bill that was approved in the Congress, children below 12 years old and who have not reached 4′ 9″ yet must be kept in a proper child car seat.
4. More expensive car seats don’t mean that they are safer
Regardless of design, price, brand, all car seats must meet the same standards as indicated in UN Regulation 44 and 129. This is also written in the Child Car Seat Bill that all car seats to be used must adhere to these standards. This means that whatever the price our kids are in for a safer ride.
Just for a rule of thumb, do not buy secondhand car seats or car seats from people who you don’t know. The history of the seat is important. It shouldn’t be expired and should not have been involved in a crash, otherwise, the seat won’t protect your child even if it meets UN Regulation 44 and 129.